Sunday, November 18, 2012

Idea Overload

Since I've done no writing to speak of in the past months, its probably not very surprising to find that my over-active brain needs to find other ways to compensate for the high-octane creative output its been used to before now.
This seems to manifest in an overload of extremely vivid dreams, entirely new concepts coming to me at the oddest moments (like while I'm stirring the rice when making dinner, or trying to get my kids into the bath), or coming up with scenes and plots for projects I already have on the go.
I have an ideas notebook that I scribble (and I literally mean scribble) these ideas down in, and I can tell you, in the past weeks, both that notebook and my pens have been getting more of a work out than they have in the past twelve to eighteen months before this. I have no idea when or if I'll ever get around to executing  these many and varied ideas, but I can never complain that I don't have anything to write about!

Monday, November 12, 2012

No NaNo, No Surprise

Yes, I may have entertained the notion of doing NaNo, but of course it didn't eventuate. In fact, I've unfortunately given up on the idea of doing any more writing until the new year and my home life settles into a new pattern.
However, that hasn't stopped the ideas from flowing. An idea for a young adult novel came to me the other night, so I wrote it down in my ideas notebook and was reminded of the many other varied ideas I've come up with. One thing I'll never lack is ideas for new books. Unfortunately with several projects currently under construction (and no work being done on any of them) I can't seriously consider the thought of starting anything new, no matter how enthusiastic I might feel about them.
In the meantime, I'm waiting (and trying not to think about it too much) to hear about the submissions my agent has sent out for my Urban Fantasy Necrohunters manuscript. I'm hoping to hear back from at least a couple before Christmas (which is six weeks away, surely we'll hear something before then?). But quite obviously I'm not holding my breath. Sometimes things happen fast in this industry, but more often than not, things develop slowly and you spend more time waiting than doing anything else.
And while I'm not writing, I have to say I've read more books in the last few weeks than I have in an entire twelve months before that. For that reason, I can't feel too depressed about my lack of writing time. Its been good to catch up on my To Be Read pile and discover some new authors.
The sporadic posting is going to continue into the new year, unfortunately. And over Christmas and the New Year, there will probably be a month or more where I won't be posting at all. But hopefully as we start 2013, I'll have some exciting news in regards to my submissions, and have more interesting topics to blog about.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nano Madness

If you know anything about the writing industry, then you'll already know that November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Basically the challenge is to write an entire novel in a month.
I'm going to come right out and say I've never done Nano before, not once in the whole eleven years I've been writing. Never even been tempted to take part in the grueling endurance that is the attempt of writing an entire book in thirty short days.
But all that has changed this year.
Those who follow this blog know that I've been lucky to get one post done a week over the past few months, due to a change in my home situation. This is also reflected in my writing time, which has become extremely limited. Luckily this isn't a permanent situation, otherwise my sanity would be at risk.
So because of this, I've done next to no writing in the last few weeks, and I'm really starting to notice it. My fingers are literally itching to get on a keyboard and bash out a few thousand words. And then people started talking about Nano. It got me thinking... yes, my writing time isn't what it used to be, but just maybe if I force myself onto the insane roller-coaster of Nano, I could take care of two issues at once; a) I'll actually be doing some writing, and b) I could (maybe) get Quantum finished (the second novel to my sci-fi romance Atrophy). It means I wouldn't even have to write an entire book, just 45,000 words, give or take... Which works out to 1500 words a day.
Once I would have said "totally do-able!" but these days I'm not so confident.
If you ask me today, I'd say yes, I think I do want to have a go at Nano, but I don't plan on posting targets or progress anywhere, since it could end up being a venture that gets abandoned very quickly. And who knows, by the time Thursday the 1st of November rolls around, I might have decided I can't be bothered anyway!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just Finished Reading... Born To Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann

I've been a faithful Suzanne Brockmann reader for more years than I can remember. Personally, I don't think anyone writes a romantic suspense like her, and every time I pick up one of her books, I know I'm in for a page-turner I won't be able to put down.
So when I found out about her new series -- Fighting Destiny -- which is a story of her usual suspense, but with paranormal elements, to say I was excited would be a massive understatement.
This book has been out since March, but for various reasons, I didn't manage to get my hands on it until last week. Now, I told myself I was only going to read bits at a time. I was going to make it last. I wasn't going to sit up until the ridiculously early hours of the morning pushing through one more chapter while my eyes drooped.
Well, I might as well have said the earth was going to start rotating backwards.
And I am going to say that Born To Darkness was the best book I've read in years. And I don't say that lightly.
There was something about this book that felt fresh, and maybe it was simply because Brockmann was working on something new that excited her.
If you're a long time follower of this blog, you'll remember my disappointment in the last few Ghostwalker books Christine Feehan had written. These two books have a similar concept and I'll admit, the first few books in the Ghostwalker series were really good, I still have them and have re-read them a few times.
But Born To Darkness literally blows the Ghostwalkers out of the water.
I've stalked various websites, trying to get some gossip on when then next book might be coming out, but to no avail. All I know is that when it does come out, I'll be waiting very impatiently to see if book number two is as good as the first. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Progress and No Progress

The interruptions continued this week (suppose I should get used to it for the time being!) and I only wrote a measly 1500 words for the whole week. And even those were hard to come by. So not much progress on the writing front, and as I may have mentioned in my last post, I've given up on the idea of finishing another book before the end of the year.
But in other areas of my work, things are starting to happen! My agent is at last sending my Necrohunters manuscript out on submission. So for that reason it was a very exciting week. I know its probably going to be weeks, if not months before we hear anything, but my imagination was still running wild with who might offer for the book and what they might offer... though yes, there is always the chance no-one will offer, in which case it'll be back to the drawing board. Luckily I've sent my agent two other completed manuscripts, one a romantic suspense and the other my sci-fi romance Atrophy. Surely we will be able to sell at least one of them to get my new career off the ground?
I must say though, it is a bit weird (but weird in a good way) to have someone else doing the submitting on my behalf and getting the information second hand... since I'm a bit of a control freak at times, handing the reins over to someone else is a pretty big deal. But I know I'll get used to it pretty quickly, and I admit I'm really enjoying just being able to concentrate on my writing and not having to worry about where my next contract it coming from.
So that's what I'm off to do now (even though its Sunday). I'm going to write at least a couple of thousand words to make up for the lack of numbers earlier in the week.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Writer, Interrupted

I've spent the last few months working on a romantic suspense, which I sent to my agent a couple of weeks ago. After that, I fiddled with a few ideas, trying to decide what I was going to work on next. I like the idea of finishing another book before the end of the year, but due to some changes in my home situation, I don't know if that will be possible since as of this week, my writing time will be severely limited.
I toyed with the idea of fixing up another half-written romantic suspense I had sitting on my hard-drive from a few years ago, and even started editing it (oh man, does it need A Lot of editing!), but then I realized what I really felt like doing was going back to the second Atrophy book, tentatively titled Quantum. At 43,000 words, I need to write about another 50,000 to get the second book in my sci-fi romance series finished.
With my other books (hopefully, or likely to be) going out on submission pretty soon, depending on when I get a contract, I might be required to drop everything to do revisions on one of those books anyway. So I have to cut myself some slack and admit that just maybe I won't get another book finished by the end of the year, but its not like I haven't been doing any work!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Neglected Blog Update

Yes, my blogging practices have become virtually non-existent.
I can tell you that I have been quietly working away; partly on (hopefully) some small final changes to my Necrohunter manuscript before my agent sends it out on submission, and partly on finishing up a romantic suspense manuscript, which I would like to submitted to Entangled Publishing (and anywhere else my agent thinks would be a good fit).
So in all honesty, I haven't been doing much besides chipping away at my works-in-progress and reading some more good books -- most recently The Goblin King by fellow RWAus and Dark Side Downunder member, Shona Husk. And boy, I could not put that book down, which was a bit of a problem since I started it in the evening and eventually needed to sleep, before going to work the next day, so I didn't get to read it all in one sitting like I would have liked. Got to love it when you find a book that makes you want to keep turning the pages, no matter what other things you're supposed to be doing.
For now I think I might have paranormal-ed myself out, so I'm looking to read some romantic suspense, and think I will start another new romantic suspense manuscript when I'm finished the current one, which will be quite soon since I'm basically in the middle of writing the last chapter.
And just a side note... can't wait until the end of the month when all of my favorite shows will be starting their new seasons!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Reading... Undone By His Touch, by Annie West

I'm going to start off this blog post by saying I don't read Harlequin Mills and Boons category-type romances. I have nothing against them, its just that few I'd tried in the past didn't really capture my imagination and I found the budding romances in them a bit contrived.
 But every now and then, you'll come across an author, and it doesn't matter what they've written, they suck you in from the first page and won't let you go until you've read every last page.
I got the copy of this book, signed by Annie (fellow RWAus member) after being involved with the RWAus online Claytons Conference two weekends ago.
My thought process was pretty much "well, I've got it, might as well see what its like" and didn't really think I'd get through much more than two or three chapters. How wrong I was!
This is a classic Beauty and The Beast type story, with the hero on the verge of becoming a recluse because he is blind, injured and scared from a tragic accident, which also claimed the life of his younger brother.
The heroine was very self contained, sensible, had an admiral inner strength and wasn't about to let the hero treat her badly. But, she didn't do it with over the top bravado or near masculine talk/action which we see from some heroines these days... and I'm thinking of one heroine in particular I read recently, in which her character ended up turning me off what was an otherwise good book.
Annie's writing is seamless, you can lose yourself in the story, because the words flow so easily. There's nothing worse than trying to enjoy a story where bad or clunky writing keeps pulling you out of the "world" you want to become immersed in.
I have nothing bad to say about this book. It was just fantastic, and I'm now off to see what other Annie West books I can track down. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best Cliff Hanger Ever - True Blood Season 5 Finale

Disclaimer: True Blood spoilers ahead! Do not read on if you haven't seen any of the current season...

So I watched the Season 5 finale of True Blood and it ended with a frustratingly good cliff hanger. I have to say, its always annoyed me that True Blood is one of those shows where the season is a measly 12 episodes long.
That point aside, I had started wondering where this season was headed. As a Sookie/Eric fan, I was waiting in hopeful anticipation that they would have some type of smallish reunion over the course of the season, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I even got a little bored right in the middle of the season, because Eric and Bill had been kidnapped by the American Vampire League, and spent the whole season in an almost entirely separate storyline.
Of course, the writers brought it all together in the end, with Eric saving Sookie from Russel Edgington, and then all of the important players going to the secret AVL underground headquaters to save Pam and Jessica. I found Eric's insistence and constant attempts to save Bill from himself very interesting. One would have assumed, as a rival for Sookie's affections, Eric might have been happy to simply escape when he could and leave Bill to a fate partly of his own making.
However, despite the fact that attempting to get Bill away from the AVL had resulted in more problems for himself, Eric kept trying to come up with ways to ultimately rescue Bill, and in the end, decided Sookie was the only one who would be able to get through to him. 
Well, that didn't work out so well, with Bill becoming the biggest threat to them all, as Eric and Sookie run for their lives. It was a satisfying ending, simply because I believe the whole season is leading toward Sookie and Eric getting back together next season. Eric has shown himself to be the bigger man, the one who really cares, and will selflessly put himself out there to help those important to him, even at detriment to his own safety. And, I have to say, I had a bit of an "awww" moment when Eric claimed Tara as "family" because she is Pam's progeny.
This season finale had it all, and even though I felt there was a bit of a mid-season slump, I can't say the writers of True Blood have left me disappointed.
Now, I simply have to wait for a whole damn year to go by, before finding out where the adventures of the Bon Temps residents takes us next.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where Have I Been? Version 2.1.1

So a couple of weeks have gone by since my last post. Yes, occasionally I thought "I really should get a blog post up." But since I haven't even had time to do any actual writing, let alone a blog post, its probably not very surprising that this site has remained quiet.
Two weekends ago, I got to attend a workshop on conflict run by Anne Gracie. It was a great refresher on the things I need to keep in mind when working on a draft, and I noted down a series of easy checks I can do during the editing process to make sure my scenes are working correctly.
The radio interview went well (according to those who heard it, I find it hard to judge for myself) and this past weekend, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday at the inaugural Bendigo Writers Festival.
I'm sure the organizers were extremely happy with how the weekend went off -- tickets were sold out and most sessions were always full. Personally, I had a great time, catching up with authors I hadn't seen for a long time, and meeting lots of new ones.
For one of my sessions, I was interviewed by Megan Burke, blogger extraordinaire and self-appointed "author-stalker" (sorry Megan, you said it!) from Melbourne, and was lucky enough to meet her for coffee on Friday so we could sort out how things were going to run. I found she and I were very much alike, and funnily enough, talking to her was kind of like chatting to one of my sisters. Because of that, the interview went really well and I felt totally relaxed throughout the entire thing. So, thanks Megan!
On Sunday afternoon, I was honored to be on a panel with none other than Margo Lanagan, award winning fantasy author. I wanted to have a bit of a fan girl moment over that, after all, I read some of her earlier works at high school, but I remained calm and professional. On the panel, we were also joined by John Flaus, who I had (embarrassingly) met at another writer's function and failed to recognize exactly who he was. It was humbling to be sitting between (because I got stuck in the middle) two Australians who have and were shaping the publishing and film industry before I even realized I wanted to be an author. John had some wonderful anecdotes and Margo was fabulously down to earth considering the accolades she has achieved over the years.
So I came home from the weekend on a wonderful high. Although I haven't had time to do any work this week, my good mood has mostly continued, and from tonight, I'll be doing the RWA online Claytons Conference. Tonight we'll be chatting, and tomorrow we'll be doing a whole bunch of workshops, so again, I'll get to mingle with a whole bunch of fabulous authors.
And I should also mention that while I haven't been doing much in the way of writing, I have been treating myself to more reading than I've done in a while. These past weeks I've read Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie, A Million Suns by Beth Revis, The Flame and The Shadow by Denise Rossetti and I'm currently half way through Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter, the first in her Alien Huntress series. There was another book I read, but I can't remember what it was... Anyway, the point is, I've enjoyed giving myself a bit of a break to escape in some books and be social, but now its about time I got back into some work.
I'm currently re-writing the ending of my Necrohunter book again for my agent (she's probably wondering what's happened to me since we talked about it three weeks ago and I haven't emailed her since). And of course I was half way through writing the sci-fi romance, Quantum, second book to Atrophy. I have plenty to keep my busy, just need to get back into the swing of working!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Media Coverage

With the Bendigo Writers Festival coming up in a few weeks, I've been doing a bit of media work.
This week, I was featured in an article in the Bendigo Weekly, (on page 2! I was quite pleased and surprised at that). This morning I'll be attending an interview on our local ABC radio station, at 10:30 with the morning program host Ann Jones.I have no idea what we'll be discussing, I suppose my work and the upcoming writers festival. Right at this moment, I'm trying not to be too nervous since this is the first time I've ever done anything like this.
Doing these sorts of things is exciting, surreal and a little intimidating. In some ways I find it hard to believe, this was an aspect of being an writer I never really thought about too closely. But, like my husband said, I wanted to be an author, this sort of thing comes with the job.
I doubt I'll ever get used to this public, media side of things. As always, its a good reminder that I need to be ever mindful of how I present myself to the world and the things I say, especially when it comes to blogs, social media and the Internet in general. Its an aspect of the craft and industry that I think people sometimes too easily forget.

Monday, July 23, 2012

50 Shades Of Gray - So Wrong on So Many Levels

Unfortunately someone else already used the title "50 Shades of Wrong" for another article elsewhere, so I decided I probably couldn't get away with repeating it.
So, this book. I'm up to page 110, the margins of the pages have notes scribbled everywhere and the blank pages in the back of the book are filled with generalized notations. Honestly, I don't know how much more I can bring myself to read. I've skimmed ahead, and things do not seem to improve as the story goes along.
Let's start off with what I don't have a problem with:
The author (mostly. I'm going on the assumption here that she doesn't know any better because she didn't spend years honing her craft and getting rejected by publishers/agents... and that maybe one day she will look back and think "oh god, I did I really publish that?")
The sexual content, in regards to BDSM. I know other authors who write this erotic genre and agree it has its place. Those authors have spent time researching and making sure the content is correct, because as authors, don't we at least owe that much to our readers? I do have issue with the sexual content as to how James portrayed it, but we'll get to that later.
Now for what I do have a problem with...
Characters:
Honestly, I thought I would never read another heroine who frustrated me as much as Bella Swan, but I have been proven wrong. Anastasia "Ana" Steele is insipid, immature, naive to the point of stupidity. She thinks of herself as ugly, ungainly, uncoordinated (sound familiar Twilight fans? And yes, I do know that this 'book' started out life as a Twilight fanfiction), yet every single male character we meet in the story is in love with her, and of course Christian Gray is wildly jealous.
The actual characterization is inconsistent (in both characters) which makes things even more frustrating.
Besides having Bella's bad traits, its like James also decided to stick Ana with every bad, cliche romance heroine attribute.She's always irritated, or squirming, or peeping up through her lashes (my god, if she does that one more time, I will take this book to my shredder) or saying "oh my" (69 times through the entire book, apparently), or 'holy s*#t' (65 times) or 'holy f^!k' (about the same, 65-ish times), I'm surprised I haven't had an aneurism from the sheer frustration of it. And then there's the fact that she is afraid of him, of his 'punishments' and making him angry, yet she goes ahead with everything anyway. She lets him do what he wants because she is afraid of losing him. This book should actually be used as a manual on how to spot an abusive relationship. Because that's exactly what it is.
Christian... where do I start. He is emotionally manipulative, and in my opinion classically and entirely emotionally abusive. I think its a cop-out that his 'lifestyle' choice is explained away by an abusive childhood. Yes, I suppose its plausible, but its also perpetrating the bad stereo types of people who enjoy BDSM.
I don't think his childhood abuse should be used as an excuse or reason for his treatment of her. The way he treats Ana is unacceptable on all levels.
Even though he's warned her away (is that supposed to make it all better?) he tracks Ana down at her work, and even uses her mobile/cell phone to find her. Just like Edward watching Bella sleep, that is not charming, people. That is disturbing.
The Relationship/Sex
I had big issues with the relationship portrayed in Twilight. Its as though James took the worst traits of Bella and Edward's relationship and amplified them.
Relationships are my livelihood. Yes, I write romance and I make sure my characters are always in an equal, respectful, loving relationship, because THAT is what we all deserve. Even if they have dark pasts, or deep psychological issues, or don't start the relationship as equals, I make sure these issues are worked through in the course of the story, or leave the reader with the sense that the issues will continue to be resolved.
So, as I said, I had big issues with the relationship in Twilight and always questioned what sort of example that was setting for all the teenage girls who were ga-ga over it. Well, this book is even more concerning. All these people who say this book is so fabulous, do they really think this is an acceptable way for a man to treat a woman? Honestly, it made me feel physically sick.
As I also said above, this book only reinforces people's misconceptions about BDSM. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have the first clue about that kind of stuff. It doesn't interest me, but I have gleaned a small amount of knowledge from the authors I know who write it, and in reading/critiquing excerpts of people's works.
I can understand some people involved in BDSM will have a written list of rules, but the list of 'rules' Christian gives Ana is so wrong, it quite clearly crosses even BDSM lines.This is a list of rules to control every aspect of her life. What she wears, how often/when she eats, how often she goes to the gym and beauty saloon. That is not BDSM, that is abuse. It might even be some form of illegal detainment. IT IS NOT SEXY.
According to the research I've done since I started this book, unsurprisingly, real people who like BDSM behind closed doors, are mostly normal, everyday people. Yes, there are the 1% of sickos out there involved in BDSM. But like every aspect of our community, they are the few. You can't judge people by their apparent lifestyle choice.
I'm quite sure that many people who like BDSM have respectful, loving and equal relationships outside of the bedroom rules or role playing. It makes me mad that Christian's predilections toward BDSM is used as a reason for him being an emotionally manipulative, borderline stalker. 
The Plot
What plot? Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. But many of these scenes are so contrived, cliched and banal that its insulting as a reader. Plus some of the scenes have eerie echos of actual scenes in Twilight... Even if it is a fanfiction, couldn't James come up with something a little more original? The storyline seems fairly meandering, and unlike actual erotic romance where every sex scene needs to move the relationship or storyline forward, the sex scenes in this book seem to be in there for no reason at all, besides sex.
The Writing
If this is the 'edited' version the publisher has put out, then I'd hate to see the original draft. Honestly, Random House, it is quite obvious this was a money-making venture only. I understand your company needs to make big bucks to stay afloat in this market that is being eaten up by e-books, and for every author like EL James who makes a gazillion dollars, you can afford to take a risk on a new, unknown author.
But is it really worth putting your name on something as embarrassing as this? Couldn't you have taken a bit more time to work with James to get rid of the ridiculous amount of repetitive writing, the cliches, the Impossible Simultaneous Action? Not to mention the places where she states the obvious. Give the readers some credit, we're not imbeciles. Hitting us over the head with it isn't going to help one little bit.
Oh, and I can't help but mention the continuous misuse of 'subconscious' which is joined by her 'inner goddess' at some stage, and is equally as annoying. Your subconscious is where your mind or body reacts at a level you are mostly unaware of, hence the 'sub'. When she talks about her 'subconscious' arching a brow and tapping her foot, it makes me crazy. Did James mean the conscience that many people think of as either an angel or devil on your shoulder, telling you what's right and wrong? Couldn't the editors at Random House even manage to fix that, or did they just not care?
I understand that the English language has always been an evolving one, and right now we're in a phase of the language changing faster than ever before. And I know a lot of people would argue that it's actually de-volving, or deteriorating. In Australia (and I assume its true for other western countries) we're having a serious problem at the moment with our younger generations not being able to spell correctly or understand the proper use of grammar and punctuation when they leave school.
I always assumed on some level that publishers had a responsibility to ensure the books hitting our shelves were at the least written to an acceptable standard. Yes, the editors may have technically fixed the spelling, grammar and punctuation, but it is still an awful shame that this extremely poorly written book has been exposed to so many people.
I cannot comprehend how so many women think this is the best book they've ever read. Its simply frightening.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Food Is Complicated - Living Dairy & Soy Free

A bit of a diversion from my usual posts...
I'm living a dairy-free life style, because I accidentally discovered after I had my second kid that dairy was the root of some health problems I'd been having for many years. Going totally dairy free at first didn't seem too hard. Okay, I miss cheese like you wouldn't believe, it seriously made up half of my diet. But otherwise I replaced everything else with soy -- soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cream (as long as it was in cooking, it wasn't too bad) etc.
Except then soy became a two-fold problem. I started reacting to it the same way I had dairy, and discovered the hard way that my oldest child is anaphylactic to it. So out went the soy products, which I wasn't too upset about. They weren't great and I'd started hearing some research that suggested soy products might have other health consequences if consumed in large quantities.
So now my diet became harder. I tried rice milk (bleh! Too sweet and watery) and ended up on oat milk. I quite like oats (esp in porridge) so the taste of the oat milk was fine to me and it actually has an almost creamy consistency. When I want chocolate milk, I discovered a chocolate flavored hazelnut milk. I also discovered coconut-based ice cream, which is very rich, but also very yummy.
I found a brand of margarine -- Nuttlex -- that is dairy free and works the same as butter in cooking.
Don't get me wrong, its taken several years of experimenting with dairy/soy alternatives to find the things I could live with, and let's face it, they're never going to be exactly the same as the original.
Going out for dinner is a nightmare. Next time you're at a restaurant, have a look at how many items have cheese, or a cream sauce, or are cooked in butter, or include milk, or likely have one of the four cooked into them, and see how few options that leaves you with.
I also worked out I can have sheep's yogurt and cheese, and goats cheese in moderate amounts. I did try goat's milk but, oh my god... have you ever smelled a goat? Well, that's what the milk tastes like. Ick!
I do have a reason for this long post, and that is because more and more (for various reasons) people are choosing or forced to go with a dairy/soy free diet. So occasionally, when I come up with a good recipe, or find a product I think is particularly good, I'm planning on putting it up on my blog.
To start with, tomorrow I plan on trying to make an ice cream out of an oat milk and coconut cream base (because the ice cream I've been buying is freaking expensive!). I haven't decided what flavor to go with yet (probably chocolate) but if it works out, I'll stick the recipe up here.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

When Your Vow Comes Back To Bite You

Okay, apparently I cannot escape the blackhole that is 50 Shades of Gray. Its sucks everyone in eventually, no matter how hard you try to escape it.
I had vowed quite adamantly that I was not going to read this book. I have nothing against the content, erotic fiction has its place and if I really wanted to read that genre, I know of many very good authors I would no doubt enjoy reading.
I'd read an excerpt of 50 SOG, and that was enough to convince me I didn't really want to put myself through the painful experience of reading this poorly written book. I'm not criticizing the author, this book is what it is, and maybe with a few more years practice and several more manuscripts, EL James might become a decent writer. But 50 SOG has too many writing flaws for me to want to read it.
Except now, apparently I have no choice.
In August, I'll be appearing at the Bendigo Writer's Festival, and sitting on a panel with several other authors, the topic of which is "His & Hers; do women and men write differently?" This week on Facebook and featured in an article in a local newspaper, the organizers have mentioned the popularity of 50 SOG and asked the question: could this book have been written by a man?
To quote the newspaper article: "Local romance writer Jess Anastasi will have something to say about the difference between romance and erotica at the Bendigo Writers Festival on Sunday August 12 at 3pm. She will also be discussing the difference (is there any?) between men and women's writing."
For about five seconds I asked myself "does that mean I actually have to read this book now?!"
The answer is quite obviously yes. It wouldn't be very professional of me to get up and talk about my opinion of 50 SOG if I haven't even read it cover to cover. And possibly made notes.
In addition to this, I've made a commitment to find and read as many male romance authors as I can. Yes, there are a handful out there. I've started with Leigh Greenwood and his western romances. So far, I cannot see any difference between what he's written, to what any female romance author would write. There are several more I'll be tracking down, most of whom write under female pseudonyms.
And as for my own work, I'm off to do some more on Quantum, the second book to Atrophy (sci-fi romance). I must say, I'm a very happy author at the moment. I've wanted to write Quantum ever since I finished writing Atrophy, and being back in that universe is fabulous. The words are flowing, the characters are co-operating and so far I'm extremely happy with how the plot is unfolding. I can only hope that my agent finds a quick home for Atrophy and we can launch this series into the world, where it belongs.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just Finished Wathcing.... The Walking Dead

Not the entire series, just the pilot and second episode. And I can't decide whether or not I like this TV show. I loved how it started, with the whole Zombie-apocalypse happening while the main character, sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes, is unconscious from a gunshot injury. Yes, I am intrigued by the premise and the characters, but my biggest problem that I don't know if I can overcome to continue watching?
The Zombies freak me the heck out.
I can watch a lot of scary stuff without batting an eyelid -- let's face it, Supernatural isn't exactly PG rated and once upon a time I would never have missed an episode of the X-Files. I honestly can't remember ever seeing anything on either of these shows that scared me enough to no longer want to watch.
But the Zombies on The Walking Dead? I don't know, there's just something about them that really gets me. So I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the third episode, even though people have been raving about this show. And I'd really like to see the part where Rick is reunited with his wife, son, and best friend, who, coincidentally, is having an affair with the wife... although I guess they don't see it that way since they think Rick is dead.
Maybe if the Zombies become a less-prominent feature in the show and it ends up revolving around the characters and their survival more, I could bring myself to watch it. However at this stage, I'm not brave enough to find out.
Oh, and one other thing. I just need to know, in these types of TV shows/movies, why is the poor defenseless horse always the first one to die?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Serenity 2.0?

So I'm in the mood for some Firefly/Serenity. I was very excited to see earlier in the week that the entire cast of Firefly would be reuniting at Comic-Con for the show's 10 year anniversary... 
Ten years? Surely not! It certainly doesn't seem that long ago since Firefly debuted and then got cruelly cut short by the pitiless execs at Fox.
Time warps aside, the reunion has sparked new rumors of a second Serenity film, even though the original film wasn't such a hit at the box office. The thing that has saved the Firefly/Serenity franchise are the enduring fans (who can be found all over the internet, mostly calling themselves Browncoats) and the steadily increasing DVD sales as this concept gradually became a cult classic. Okay, so it wasn't an instant, overnight success, but Firefly/Serenity will go down as one of the most brilliant TV shows/movies of our generation. Part of this legend might even be because of the circumstances in which Firefly got cancelled in the first place.
I think a second movie will easily outsell the first at the box office, by now there are enough die-hard fans salivating at the idea of another installment to make the dollars more than worthwhile for the interested financial parties. I suppose the bigger question is, will the cast want to do it, will Joss Whedon want to do it, and what exactly will they do without Wash and Shepard Book, who were both killed in the Serenity movie. Personally Wash was one of my favorite characters, and the dynamics likely won't be the same without him. And as for Shepard Book, I always wanted to know what his big secret was... Though apparently this can be discovered in the Serenity graphic novels available.
So while I try not to hope the a second Serenity movie will be forthcoming (because as much as I like the idea, I can't believe it will happen after all this time) I'll take myself off for a Firefly/Serenity re-watch in the meantime.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Atrophy Resurrected!

Its Sunday morning here in Australia, and where I live, we woke up to a gray, rainy morning. Not surprising considering we're smack bang in the middle of winter (oh god, I hate the cold. Bring back summer!). This year, I had taken a vow of rest for Sundays, not because that's what God said, but because I figured I should have at least one day a week where I'm not writing/editing/revising/emailing/internetting/plotting/researching... and all other sundries that go with being a writer. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, like if I'm on a deadline and really need to get the work done.
But yesterday I at last finished the revisions/re-writes I'd been doing for my agent and brought up the subject of Atrophy with her.
For those of you who missed the "Atrophy" period, this was the sci-fi romance manuscript that almost made it, but never did. I won't rehash all the details, but aside from Atrophy nearly selling several times, it was also my one true "baby". Yes, I am attached to all my manuscripts in different ways, but there was always something about Atrophy that I loved more than anything else I'd ever written.
So, my agent is interested in reading it, I suppose being a completed work, it gives her something else to shop around as well as the Necrohunter book I've just finished.
Getting back to my original point, I don't usually work on Sundays, but being a cold rainy day, I can't think of any better way to spend it than reading through Atrophy. I have a few things to fix, after getting some great feedback about this book from Erika Tsang at Avon, from pitching it to her at the RWAus conference last year.
I can tell you, I'm extremely happy to be working on Atrophy again. Not only that, but I'm looking forward to seeing if my agent can find a home for it after all this time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Author Tamara Gill

Because I've quite obviously been very slack lately about posting regularly, today I've got a guest visiting -- historical romance author Tamara Gill. In my humble opinion, she's been blessed with one of the most gorgeous regency covers I've ever seen. So let's take a look and see what Tamara has been up to...


Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.
Hi Jess, thanks so much for having me on my second blog hop stop. I’m an Aussie author addicted to historical periods. I write Regency and time travel romance.

Please tell us a bit about your book.
A Marriage Made in Mayfair is about a woman who’s looking for love, but it seems in the wrong social sphere. The hero who’s much more haute ton than the heroine doesn’t think so and sets out to win her. You’ll have to read the book to find out anymore. ;p

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?
I don’t know really. An idea just popped into my mind and I went with it. I liked the idea of a very wealthy woman instead of a very wealthy man. My hero in the novella is near ruin and needs to marry a rich lady. It was fun writing a reverse roll. Most regencies have the hero saving the heroine. A Marriage Made in Mayfair is the opposite.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?
I had a very tough time. In fact, I wanted to throw it in the bin a few times. I fell pregnant and my muse disappeared and wouldn’t come back. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that my muse returned. She hasn’t left my side since. ;p

When / Where / How do you write?
Sporadically in my office or I may edit watching TV with the hubs at night. I try and fit it in between nappy changes, sleeping times and school drop off and pick up’s. Not to mention the kids sports…Gosh, I wonder when I get the time at all reading that!

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?
Not really. I like to read and travel. I’m planning a trip back to England. I want to take my kids there, but that’s a couple of years away yet.

  What book/s are you reading at the moment?
Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I know, not an historical but I’m enjoying it. It’s something different and fresh. Also on my bedside table is Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Seduction. Hello Paris mmmm.

  What are you working on right now?
I’m editing a manuscript Penguin Australia have asked for, I have until the end of the month to get it back to them. I’m also waiting on edits for my Regency time travel, A Stolen Season and Medieval time travel, Defiant Surrender due any day. I have editing coming out of my ears. When I get a chance, I work on my paranormal novella titled Banished about a goddess and druid. It’s quite different from what I’ve written before but it’s a lot of fun.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?
To Sin with Scandal – Naughty Regency nibble
A Captain’s Order – A Duke’s Command – Regency Novella

Both of these titles are available through Noble Romance Publishing and online stores.


Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!

Blurb:
Miss Suzanna March wished for one thing: the elusive, rakish charmer, Lord Danning. But after a frightful first season such dreams are impossible. That is until she returns to London, a new woman, and one who will not let the ton's dislike of her stand in her way of gaining what she wants: revenge on the Lord who gave her the cut direct…

Lord Danning, unbeknown to his peers, is in financial strife and desperate to marry an heiress. Such luck would have it Miss Suzanna March fits all his credentials and seduction in his plan of action. Yes, the woman who returned from Paris is stronger, defiant, and a little argumentative, but it does not stop Lord Danning finding himself in awe and protective of her.

But will Suzanna fall for such pretty words from a charmer? Or will Lord Danning prove to Suzanna and himself that she is more than his ticket out of debtor's prison...?


~Excerpt~
“Suzanna, I do apologize. Here,” Royce said, leaning down and pulling her to stand. “I would never have barged in had I known you were standing behind the door.” He watched her right her clothes as best she could before she turned, sauntered over to a basin of water, and tried to wipe the remains of her dinner from her gown.
Suzanna glared at him over her shoulder as a blob of sauce dropped and splattered onto the floor. “My clothes are already soiled, so landing on the floor for a second time this evening will not matter.”
His eyes stole over her ruined apparel and the sad, unsure woman he had known last year stared back at him across the room. An ache settled in his chest at the dishevelled picture she made. All of which was his fault. Had he not tried to fluster her by touching her leg, she would not have suffered such humiliation.
“I apologize if my actions earlier this night upset you to the point you spilled—”
“My drink. All over the table before falling on my backside in front of the dinner guests I was trying to impress. Since,” she walked over to him and poked his chest with a finger, “the society I had initially graced wanted naught to do with me and all because of a certain pompous, arrogant, high-in-the-instep lord.”
Royce sighed. Her tone did not bode well for his plan to win Suzanna and make her his wife. “Like I said, I apologize. Perhaps for me to make amends, you would agree to a ride in the park tomorrow. I believe the weather is to be congenial.”
“Unlike the company,” she stated, with a narrow, piercing stare that could have turned him to ash on the Aubusson rug beneath his boots.
“There's no need to be….” Her eyes narrowed further as Royce cut off what he was about to say. He doubted his suggestion that she should be polite would place her in a more pleasant mood.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Exposing My Writing Weakness - Impossible Simultaneous Action

As writers, none of us are perfect. We all have our little quirks, our Achilles heel, I suppose you could say, of technical stuff we always have to go back and fix once the first draft is written. As newbie writers, its often hard to see what these issues are, and most likely the problems won't be seen until someone points them out to you.
Over the years, working with various people -- my critique partner, several different editors at Noble and now my agent, I've slowly come to know some of my own 'quirks' and can tidy them up before the world at large sees them. However, I'm still learning myself. What I know is just the tip of the iceberg. As the years go on, I'm sure there will be other style/technical issues I'll need to learn to straighten out.
So I thought I'd start sharing my writing issues, giving examples of what they are and how they can be fixed...
Today, we'll be starting with ISA -- Impossible Simultaneous Action.
Sounds complicated already, right?
Instead of explaining, let me write an example:
"Jeff sat up, shoving on his boots and patting down his messy hair." 
Initially you might say, there's nothing wrong with that and I have written many such sentences, still often do when I'm in the writing zone and not thinking about technical mumbo-jumbo. However, if you read the sentence carefully, you'll realize that there's nothing separating the actions. Therefore, technically Jeff is sitting up, putting on his boots and patting his hair all at the same time. And, let's face it, unless Jeff is an octopus, its impossible for him to do that.
In this case, to fix, a few extra words will break things up:
"Jeff sat up and then shoved on his boots, before patting down his messy hair."
This is perhaps not the most eloquent sentence, but you get the idea. Personally I might be inclined to fix it with some addition information, to give more depth:
"Jeff sat up with a groan for his aching head. What the hell did I do last night? He shoved his feet into his boots with more force than necessary and then ran a hand over his hair, grimacing at the tousled mess."
I suppose this kind of bleeds into the whole "showing, not telling" thing. At first, we have a bland sentence about someone getting out of bed, but by the end, using the same base actions, we are given more insight into the character and his situation. With any luck, this will leave the reader wondering "what did he do last night?" and wanting to read on to find out.
Well, it was a short lesson, but that's all I have time for today. I've got revisions to finish and many sentences like this in need of fixing! When I get some time, I'll be tackling some more of my writing quirks, including more about showing, not telling, filter words, use of "that" and "was", and at some stage when I'm feeling really brave, passive writing, which I have constant issues with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

Blog post have been few and far between the last few months, and I think this is also being reflected in the amount of time I'm spending on my manuscript.
In a way, this is fortuitous, because I'll be attending and presenting at this year's RWA Claytons Conference, the online conference available to members who can't attend the actual conference on the Gold Coast in August. I'll be doing a workshop entitled Why We Write, along with some other, as yet unconfirmed authors. Part of this topic will be focusing on how to stay motivated or achieve some level of writing output when life seems to be getting in the way.
I know part of my personal problem at the moment comes from the fact that its winter here, it gets darker earlier and its that time of year when the kids will catch any germs that happen by. In the last few weeks we've had stomach bugs, basic colds, and chest infections. If I don't happen to catch these germs myself, I'm still having night after night of interrupted sleep.
The reason I mention this is because traditionally I've gotten most of my work done between 7:30pm to 10:30pm after the kids are in bed. However, they're getting older now and somehow bedtime has pushed out to 8pm - 8:30pm. By the time I get them settled, I'm about ready to go to bed myself and am in no way motivated to do any work.
Some people might say "well, that's easy, just get up early and do some work!" But I am extremely NOT a morning person and since my kids usually wake up between 6am to 6:30 am, I'd need to be up at 5am to get an hour of work in... sorry, but 5am is still the middle of the night in my world!
So I am going to spend the next few days/weeks finding ways to motivate myself and come up with different time frames to work in that I've never tried before. On one hand, this is going to help my own output (because I really need to get back into my old habit of doing at least 1000 words a day) and at the same time help me prepare for the workshop in August.
Also, I've been thinking about doing a series of blog posts, the A to Z of writing. I know a lot of other authors have been doing this and I think it looks fun. I figure though I'm poaching the idea, I'm putting my own spin on it, so that might be interesting...
Anyway, I actually have a quiet hour in my house right now to get some work done, so I should go do that!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Again with the Revisions

I'm smack bang in the middle of tearing my ghost manuscript apart again, with suggested revisions from my agent this time. If you've read this blog long enough, you'll already know what I think about editing and revising, the extremely un-fun part of my job.
However, since I'm still all starry-eyed about my agent, I'm actually pretty excited about making these changes and seeing where the new version will take us. And while yes, I am removing some scenes and putting in new ones, once I started working on the changes, I realized they weren't probably going to be as stressful as I fist assumed.
I might have already mentioned this, but we had to ditch the Shadow Hunter thing and for the time being I'm going with Necrohunters, unless someone comes up with something better at some point. And since the title was The Last Shadow, which kind of no longer applies, I have no idea what the new title is going to be at this point. 
I'm getting close to the half way point of the tearing-and-refitting, but the most major changes are going to occur in the last part of the book. I have to write in a bad guy who, previously I wasn't going to reveal until later in the series. I also have to work in some highly dramatic way that the hero, Nathan, finds out about Tessa's big secret, which I'd also considered leaving until later books.
But, I guess its like that song "hit me with your best shot." I have to pack as much punch into this book as I can, because its going to be up against a whole bunch of other agent-approved books hitting the desk of New York's biggest editors.
And even though I'm revealing a lot more in this book than I originally planned, I still have a lot up my sleeve for the next two books at least, so here's hoping whatever publishing house picks me up offers at least a trilogy.
And now I really should get back into it, my characters await!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Currently Reading... Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

Blurb:
Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie's mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.

But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.


 I love a god sci-fi romance, as most of you already know, and this one by Sara Creasy has not been a disappointment. In fact, I think the last time I enjoyed a SFR this much, it was a Linnea Sinclair book, who always hits the mark for me. The only downside is because of my limited time, I'm only reading in snatches, when I'd prefer to just spend a whole day on the couch and do nothing but be immersed in this well-rounded book. I'm about two-thirds of the way through and have the second book, Children of Scarabaeus all ready to go. 


As for this year's SFR challenge, which I've failed to mention since I put it up in the side bar ( --> ) I'm past five titles and heading for ten. With any luck I should achieve the Moon Reading challenge, though if I had more time, I could have easily made the Venus level at 25 SFR titles. But, I've got my own work to do and that's never been more important than now that I have an agent to work with. 


Speaking of which, I have a lot of work to do on revising my Shadow Hunter book, which is no longer going to be called the Shadow Hunters. I'm about a quarter of the way through, but I'm re-writing some entirely new scenes from scratch, so it's going to be a few weeks before I have a whole manuscript again. Stay tuned for news of the new series name, title, etc and where this book will end up finding a home. In the meantime, I have lots of work to do!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chuck

So I have a new most-favorite-ever TV show: Chuck. My good friend, Cafrine, told me about it many years ago and at the time I was like "eh", I was at the height of my Supernatural obsession and was starting to get into Vampire Diaries in a big way. I wasn't interested in finding anything new.
I'm not even sure what made me finally decide to give Chuck a go. I suppose I'd seen snippets on TV and heard people mention it over the years and at last thought I should see what all the fuss was about... I watched one episode and I was hooked! I'm now mid-way through season 3 and loving every episode.
For those of you who don't know (like I didn't until recently) Chuck is based on Charles "Chuck" Bartowski who unwittingly has all of the CIA and NSA most classified government secrets downloaded into his brain, a computer they call the Intersect. Since the actual computer is destroyed, Chuck is the only source of all the government's most important data, so he is forced to become a spy, providing information when he "flashes" on certain people or objects. Chuck gets a CIA handler in Sarah Walker (also the love interest) and an NSA handler/bodyguard in John Casey.
This show ticks all the boxes for me; romance, action, comedy, suspense. It has a great balance of characters and a plot that's different from anything else out there at the moment.
I must say, I really love Adam Baldwin as Agent John Casey. The ex-Firefly actor really found his stride in this role. Sure, he was great in Firefly, and played a similar gung-ho, brawns kind of guy. But in Firefly, the comedy came in the fact that he wasn't the smartest star in the sky, which suited the Firefly plot and characters. In Chuck, Baldwin gets to play a super-tough, obviously very smart gung-ho, brawns kind of guy, which is a very effective character.
And where to start when it comes to the hero of the show, Chuck? I just love that he's everything a spy usually isn't; uncoordinated, actually cares about things, a total geek. The creators did a good job casting Zachary Levi in this role. He portrayed a great mix and nerdy, sweet, and sexy (really sexy)... yes it can be done!
I was a bit disappointed to see that the final season, number 5, only got a half run of episodes at 13 aired. The least they could have done was end this fabulous series with a full season. And while we all wish our favorite TV shows could keep going and going, I can already see, mid-way through season 3, how this premise doesn't have as long a shelf-life as some others. There's only so many directions the show can go, and Chuck has to evolve to keep things believable. Working as a spy, he can't stay they same unknowing, nerdy nobody he started out as. He is moving toward being more of a professional spy, which brings its own issues.
I think the will-they-won't-they storyline of Chuck and Sarah's romance has been handled very well also. There have been (and may still be) other people for both of them along the way, but they keep finding their way back to each other. And of course, because the internet is the internet and nothing is secret, I do know they end up getting married at some stage.
So I will be interested to see how the second half of this series plays out. If I was scoring, I'd definitely rate this show a five out of five stars. I haven't seen such a great balance of elements since Stargate SG1 (the early years). So if you haven't already seen this fantastic series, go watch it, people!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Latest News

Okay, its been announced in a few other places, so I guess the cat is out of the bag (side note, why would you put a cat in a bag anyway? ... actually, I don't want to know!)
I'm very pleased to announce that as of a few days ago, I have agreed to work with Paula Munier at Talcott Notch Literary Services.
Yes, I have an agent!
Its all I've wanted for a very long time (years and years) and now that I have an agent, its all a bit surreal. But I'm very excited about the work we're going to do together and where this partnership will take us. 
So as of this week, I have a new direction and new plans brewing. Its going to be a very exciting year, so stay tuned to see what comes!
Oh, also I'm pleased to announce that all of my books with Noble are going into print as of this week, so in a few weeks from now, I (and anyone else who wants them!) will be putting my books on my bookshelf! Very exciting times, I can't wait to get my hands on those lovely print copies.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Predict... On Hart of Dixie

SPOILER ALERT
So I'm totally addicted to this new show, Hart of Dixie. It's great, about this New York doctor, Zoe, who misses out on the surgical internship she wanted, so takes herself off to Bluebell, Alabama to be a general practitioner. Of course, its like a totally different world and she's left adjusting to small town life and trying to find a way to fit in.
Like many shows at this time of year, we're getting toward the end of the season (this week's episode was number 18, I think) and many of the season's story-lines are being brought to a head.
After considering where the season arc had come to, I came up with some predictions on where I think/hope next season will take us:

1) George and Lemon are the town's golden couple, and Zoe has had some feelings for George, though she has tried not to interfere, despite Lemon trying to 'destroy' Zoe. However this week George found out that Lemon had an affair with the town mayor, Lavon. Though the episode ended with George angry at Zoe, because she knew and didn't tell him, next week's promo showed the two of them getting cosy. So my first prediction is that even though George and Zoe will get closer (they might even kiss!) I think something will send George back to Lemon, who was already plotting to get her fiance back five minutes after he'd told her it was over. I'm pretty sure the wedding will end up going ahead, leaving Zoe heart broken and ready to get over George.

2) Lemon will get pregnant... to Lavon. That's my big one. I think some how, some way, she'll end up sleeping with Lavon and when she finds out she's pregnant, she won't know who the father is. Of course, she'll hope the baby is George's, so she won't say anything to anyone. But when the baby comes and its very obviously not George's, the the fireworks will commence. I have this great scene in mind where George, angry and hurting, leaves Lemon moments after the birth to go find Lavon. He'd be somewhere public, like the town's local bar, the Rammer Jammer, and George will simply walk up and punch Lavon in the face, pulling out a snappy line like "congratulations, you just became a father."


3) After getting her heart broken by George, Zoe will be ready to move on... to Wade.
 Despite some feelings for George, the sparks between Zoe and her neighbor, Wade, have been very entertaining. This week Zoe and Wade had a falling out when Wade lost his temper and said some things he didn't mean about Zoe, which Zoe overheard. So now the gulf between them is huge, and they are both hurting over it. Wade, because he's been in love with Zoe almost since the first day she came into town and doesn't know what to do about it, plus she always seems to be interested in other men with better jobs; A Vet, a lawyer and this week, Wade's brother, Jesse, an ex-war hero played by the very attractive Justin Hartley. I think after George goes ahead and marries Lemon, Wade and Zoe will literally find themselves stuck somewhere together where they have no choice but to face things between them while they wait to be resuced... which will culminate in them both admitting their feelings.

4) BUT, things won't be happily-ever-after and straight forward for Zoe and Wade. Once Lemon's baby fall out with Lavon happens, George will look to Zoe, which will make Wade insecure, and in return he'll lash out at Zoe, making their relationship unstable and ultimately pushing her toward George. But, even if Zoe and Wade break up, I don't necessarily believe she'll end up with George. I feel she'll be more likely to end up with no one... the poor girl!

So there you have it! My predictions leading into season two of Hart of Dixie. I can't wait to see what happens in the final four episodes... and I'm praying to the TV gods that this show doesn't end up in the cancelled pile like some others I've loved over the years!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

News of a Bestseller

What the hell, right?
I went to my publisher's webpage (www.nobleromance.com) to see if Heart of the Warlord had been put up in new release (which if course it was in readiness for tomorrow's release) and glanced at the Top Ten Bestsellers list, only to almost fall off my chair when I saw three of my books in there: #6 Sanctuary, #7 Dead Reality and #8 Severance.
And yes, I did take a screenshot to remember it forever...
Okay, its a bit hard to see here because I'm not tech-savvy enough to zoom in or make it bigger without making it blurry... give me a break, the excitement has made my brain malfunction!
So this was a nice way to finish off what had been quite a stressful week. I have no idea what this week is going to bring, because the stressful situation is still unresolved, but whatever comes, looking at this will make all the bad times seem worth it.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Cover Love

Just popping in quickly to share the cover for my book coming out next week, on the 16th of April:


Blurb:

On the planet Kanaan, Jiovahnie Dorrian, the Marques of Gryffin, walks a fine line between keeping his place in society amongst the Ruling Families, and his ancestral legacy of being a warlord. Though he'd rather stay camped in the Borderlands with his men, when his cousin, the Duque of Harkin is to be married, it’s the event of the season. One he can't miss. After all, the duque expects him to be the best man. But Vahn doesn't anticipate his best man duties to include fetching his cousin's bride when an enemy attempts to abduct her.

Lady Gwynevive Tyne isn't the wilting Miss society expects her to be. And when mercenaries attack her traveling party on the way to her intended husband's home, she does what any self-respecting girl should —  tries to steal the enemy's ship to escape. But before she can get away with the reckless plan, a warrior turns up claiming to be sent by her fiancĂ©. He dresses like a mercenary and his silvery, metal-gray eyes make her heart beat a little too fast.

For both Vahn and Gwyn, a forbidden attraction flames to life between them almost instantly. Both know there's no way they can be together. Yet neither of them can stay away from one another. An enemy is intent on preventing Gwyn's marriage, and at every turn, Vahn finds himself protecting Gwyn from danger. He needs to keep her safe and then hand her over to his cousin to wed. And when the time comes, they have to find some way to let each other go… Or risk starting a war that could tear apart the Ruling Families.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Few and Far Between

Yes, blog posts from me are a bit spotty at the moment, but that's just because I'm so gosh-darn busy.
I'm still doing major revisions on my Shadow Hunter novel, but thankfully am nearly finished with those. Usually I just edit on the computer, but I decided for a change I was going to print out the whole 315 page manuscript and edit it by hand, which I have not done for years. It has been a refreshing change, I think I'm finding things that otherwise might have slipped my notice. However, it does seem to be very slow going. Nonetheless, I'm now down to the last pages and am hoping to get the manuscript back to the interested party within the week. So hopefully I might have some exciting news on that front in the coming months.
In the meantime...
ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!
I am so very pleased to finally be able to tell you all that I have been offered a contract by Red Sage Publishing for a sci-fi romance novella, titled Escape Velocity. This is Kai and Sacha's story, that I wrote months ago for an Avon Impulse anthology. Well, obviously Avon didn't take it, but Red Sage jumped at it.
I sent them a query and less than a week later I got a very enthusiastic email back from one of their editors. They wanted to offer me a contract, but I needed to make some minor adjustments... which I gladly did. I have to say, I was over the moon about getting an offer from Red Sage. Its another e-book contract, yes, but it feels like a step up in the world. Red Sage have quite a good reputation and some of their authors are New York Times best-sellers. Some authors I've been reading for years, like Liz Maverick and Angela Knight, have pieces published with them. So the thought that my name and book will be up on the same publisher's site as theirs makes me giddy.
So I've started writing another book for Red Sage, in the same world as Escape Velocity. Actually, I'm nearly half way through. And the other day I came up with an idea that could work for a third book, so as well as the stories I plan to write for Noble, I've got more than enough to keep me busy. I think if I get the contract from this third publisher for my Shadow Hunter novel, I'll be set for at least a couple of years and maybe I'll at last be able to find myself an agent.
So for my career plan this year of spreading myself around and getting more market exposure through multiple publishers, things are really on track.
And now I have some pages to go and slash with my green pen (no red for me!). Stay tuned, I'm waiting on a cover for Heart of the Warlord, which is coming out on the 16th of April, and am expecting to get it in the next couple of days.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Radio Silence

Where have I been? Its been over ten days since I last posted, its unusual for me to go so long without having something to say. Truthfully, I have written half a post (with pictures) on some of my favorite kick-ass TV fight scenes, so hopefully I might be able to get that up at some point in the near future.
Otherwise I've been busy, busy, busy. I have been offered a new contract with a new publishing company which I'm very excited about, but I'm keeping the details of who, what, were and how quiet until everything is signed and locked in place. They asked for some revisions so that kept me busy for a little while.
And then, in the same week, I got another email from another, bigger publishing company about my Shadow Hunters novel. They did not offer me a contract, however, the lovely editor wrote me a two page email of suggested revisions. If I chose to take them on and re-submit directly to her, then a contract may be forthcoming if I can bring the book up to where they'd like to see it.
So I've spent the past three weeks tearing apart and putting back together my Shadow Hunter novel. I had to entirely re-write some chapters. But I could see where the suggested revisions would make the plot and characters stronger. I've done a lot of work on the book in the last fee weeks. However, in the past days, I had to take a break from it because I'd gotten to the point where I felt like I'd started destroying the book, not improving it. Instead I started writing a brand new sci-fi space opera romance for the new mystery publisher I'm yet to reveal.
As you can see, I've got more than enough work to keep me busy, so apologies in advance if blog posts here remain few and far between.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Revisions, Revisions.

I've been powering through revisions on my Shadow Hunter novel the past few days, tearing it apart, inserting new chapters, changing what's already there and generally hacking my way through the story. I'm really happy with how its going so far and think I'll definitely have a stronger book for it by the time I'm finished.
Except when I sat down this morning, it was like I'd run out of steam. The words are refusing to come and my brain is being sluggish... which is why I'm here, writing a blog post. And instead of considering what I need to do next in the structure of the story, I'm thinking about baking a loaf of bread (nothing like fresh, warm bread from the oven with butter melting on it... yum!)
The other problem is I have somewhere to go at lunch time, so I know my flow is going to get interrupted at that point anyway. Maybe my mind will be more cooperative later this afternoon. In the meantime, bread-baking, here I come.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writing A Book Is Kinda Like A Relationsip

I came up with a new idea recently. Ask any writer and they will tell you how exciting this is. The blossoming of a new idea is like seeing a guy for the first time and falling into instant infatuation. You don't know him from a bar of soap, but he could be the one. A new book idea is exactly the same. Your heart races, you get fluttering in your stomach, the world around you glows with possibility because this book could be like nothing else you've ever written.
So you sit down and start writing. And its just like a new relationship. Everything is fun and exciting and makes you happy. Things will be like this forever, how could they ever go wrong when you feel this way? The words flow, the characters are deep yet witty, the plot is genius. You burn through the first few chapters no problem.
Then one day you sit in front of the computer and it doesn't seem quite as easy as it did the day before. Just like when your relationship starts getting serious, the shine has worn off. You get annoyed with your characters because you suddenly realize your Alpha hero is actually a Beta and your heroine is swinging toward TSTL (too stupid to live). But that's okay! You can fix it because you have love, and that's all that really matters.
So you keep slogging on. You reach the middle and things start sagging. Worse, you realize its starting to get really hard, but you've still got a long way to go. Its an uphill battle and you start double-analyzing everything your characters say and do, looking for ways they're going to stab you in the back with their inability to lead the plot in any sensible or entertaining direction.
At last you get to the climax. You rise above the problems that have come before and can see clearly for the first time in a while. Maybe things aren't as bad as they looked on the ground. You remember that feeling you had when you first came up with the book idea and think maybe if you really commit and put your whole heart into it, things can be that way again, you can make it into what it was meant to be.
So you finish the book, like getting married, because those hopes and dreams still exist. And once the book is finished, things will be different, right? They'll be better? Because surely with a finished manuscript, the world will be a better place. And for a while it is. You bask in the gratification of having a completed book.
Except then you realize that you're now stuck with it forever and it needs to be edited. Torn apart and put back together, stuck under a microscope and a spotlight directed on its flaws. Like couples therapy, you don't want to do it, its going to hurt and make you face sides of yourself and your book you'd rather not see. But deep down you know its for the best, that when you come out on the other side, you'll both be in a better place. So, you take it one day at a time and hope you have more good days than bad. Some days, you and your book won't want to see each other, you won't even remember why you liked it in the first place. But most days, you'll tolerate it. And a lot of days you'll see the light side, the fun side. Occasionally something will remind you of that initial puppy-love you had for it. And in those moments, you'll remember why you go through this crazy process over and over, every time you get a new idea and start another book.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chop, Chop, Chop

That's what I'll be doing in the near future with the secret-agents-meets-sci-fi novella I wrote not long ago. You see, the idea was there, but the characters... not so much. I had an in-depth conversation with my CP the other day about what was and wasn't working in this story. Unfortunately there's more that's not working. And you know me, I'd rather trash than fix. So, once I'm done with the Sanctuary novella I'm working on, Starstruck, I'm going back to the drawing board on Ultimate Infinity (I love that title, by the way.)
So many books to write, so little time! At some stage I need to get a move on with the second book to Heart of the Warlord. Plus last year I did start the fourth Sanctuary book, Sinner. I should probably try to finish that at some stage. I'm also going to be making a concentrated effort to focus a certain amount of time each week on web stuff and promo. My website is sadly neglected and I know I don't use all that fang-dangled social media stuff anywhere near as well as I should.
And now I'm off to schedule myself some guest-blog spots for April when Heart of the Warlord comes out. Busy, busy, busy.... chop, chop, chop...

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Know I Should Be Writing But....

This week, Australian politics became a circus as Kevin Rudd resigned and Julia Gillard called for a ballot on Monday to decide once and for all the true leader of the Labour Party. I put a post on facebook about Kevin Rudd secretly being an evil genius and one of my friends mentioned Pinky and the Brain. So, this morning I couldn't help but make this:


(I believe the rights to Pinky and the Brain belong to Warner Bros... no infringement intended.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'd Like To See... Australia Get A Whole New Bunch of Politicians

I don't usually get into politics around here, but...
There's two things I'm really sick of living in Australia. One: the banks. Seriously? What a bunch of thieves! This month, the Reserve Bank Australia left interest rates on hold, yet a few days later, the banks put interest rates up anyway because apparently they can't "afford" to keep the rates so low (never mind the multi-billion dollar profit they make every year). Supposedly the RBA will be giving us an interest rate cut in the next few months, but now even if the banks do happen to pass the rate cut on (which I wouldn't be surprised to find they don't), we won't be any better off than we were last month.
And Two: politicians. The top politicians to be exact. Kevin Rudd brought the Labour party to power with "Kevin '07" and that was great, I've always voted Labour because I come from a working-class family background who've always voted Labour. Despite some things not working out so well, I actually think Rudd did a good job, spending money on building new schools and other initiatives that pumped money and jobs into our economy. And in actual fact, while the rest of the world struggled under the GFC, Australia weathered things pretty well, and I think a lot of that came down to Rudd's economy stimulus package.   And you know what? I actually kind of like K-Rudd. He was the most human-like, down to earth politician I'd seen in a while. When scandal broke about him going to strip clubs, somehow it only made him cooler.
And then the coup happened. K-Rudd was losing popularity, so Labour pushed him aside and made Julia Gillard Prime Minister. Though I was happy about Australia getting its first female PM, I wasn't all that keen on Ms. Gillard. But here we are, a little while later and the tables seem to be tilting back. Gillard is losing her popularity and there's been talk of K-Rudd stepping back in.
Yesterday, some footage emerged on youtube of K-Rudd loosing his crap, belting out a string of swearwords worthy of any blue-collar, pub-dwelling labourer. Many speculate it is an attempt to discredit K-Rudd and stop him from returning to power. Except like with the strip-club-scandal, I have a feeling that most people will actually see this in a positive light -- it proves that K-Rudd is just like the rest of us, sometimes he gets pissed about things. That's how I view it anyway.
Labour Party leadership aside, I'm of the opinion that it won't matter what Labour does, they're not going to win the next election. And I can't decide what would be worse any way. Liberal's Tony Abbott (shudder) or another few years stuck with Gillard if K-Rudd doesn't manage to wrench the leadership back? You know what, I don't want ANY of them. If only there was a serious third option for the Australian PM, but with the way our government is set up, I think it would take some serious upheaval for another candidate to emerge. Really, I'm over it. And the worse part? Unlike America, we don't get a choice whether or not to vote. We HAVE to vote, its the law. So who the heck am I going to vote for?!?! The Green Party? Don't get me started on Bob Brown...